Returning expats, retirees, World Cup and the election will all help sales, says Steward

The much-discussed return of South African expatriates from overseas countries hit by the world’s economic woes is having a beneficial effect on the Cape property market, says Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank because a high proportion of these people, she said, are heading for Cape Town.

“I am told that 200,000 bankers and financial sector staff have lost, or will lose, their jobs worldwide,” said Steward. “The good news is that those returning to SA now comprise nearly 3% of our buyers and, in our experience, are finding jobs here, often by setting up in a new business, which is good for the economy.

“Most, too, are capable of paying large deposits or of buying the property with one cheque. This means that they are not held back by the National Credit Act rulings.”

A steady, though small, stream of retired persons, said Steward, is also still coming to South Africa from the UK and Europe – and she predicts this will increase.

“On the current exchange rate they still get far more for their money and enjoy a far better lifestyle than is possible in their home countries. I am quite certain that if SA published the figures of our houses more widely overseas we could attract far more foreign retirees – particularly with the publicity that the World Cup and the election brings.

“If this election is carried through peacefully the message that we are a reasonably secure society will go out to the world. I, for one, am confident that there will be only minor disturbances and that 2010 will so raise our profile internationally that we will attract more home buyers.”

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